took to world record-breaking in
2004 after being inspired by a record-setting rally
driver in Kenya. What began as a hobby soon escalated
into an active publicity pursuit. Today, he promotes the
work of social and environmental causes. For these
purposes, the most fitting game plans are chosen; then
world titles are attempted and frequently created.
Wall Street Journal:
Shaking On It in Times Square
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Behind every world record attempt is the expertise of professionals in their field.
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Fastest time to shell one boiled egg: 18.95 seconds
This is the story behind my Guinness World Record™ for the Fastest time to shell one boiled egg.
I was due to attempt several world records at a
local record-breaking event. As always happens, I was excited to the
point of irritating every person around me with my hyperactivity.
Ironically, it annoyed me when others said there was nothing to get so
excited about when it comes to world records. Oh yes there was! Such
statements were highly offensive to me, since world records are what
society ought to base itself on, I think. Hopefully you agree.
I was keen to maximise my opportunity by making a
number of world record attempts at the public event. I knew of others
who were planning to attempt only a single world record. But to me, one
world record attempt was nowhere near what I'd be satisfied with.
Perhaps 20? Yes, that idea appealed. Even if I couldn't attain 20 at
once, there was no way I'd settle for one.
My over-active mind thought and thought.
Eventually, after what felt like a mental marathon, I settled on one
idea of hundreds for this particular attempt. Something to do with an
egg seemed to carry sufficient appeal for me, so I began investigating
possibilities. During my research, I discovered that there was a lot I
could possibly do: throwing, head-butting, spinning, balancing,
blowing, cooking or more. These were handy items from nature – eggs - I
thought, as I dreamed of future possibilities.
After quite some thought, I chose to make my
world record attempt something new. Or, depending on which way you view
things, something that's been done since time immemorial. I hoped I'd
be the first to shell an egg for a world record. At a friend's house, I
picked the first egg I saw in the fridge. I gave the choice no
consideration at all; I simply wanted to test the procedure to get an
idea of the process under world record attempt conditions.
Having hard boiled the unlucky egg, I kissed it
softly and then timed myself in shelling it alongside the kitchen sink.
My friend had a convenient timer which made my multitasking easier. So
I was reasonably confident that I'd got an accurate reading. Being the
very first occasion on which I'd timed myself to shell an egg in my
life, I figured I'd done pretty well: I had finished in just 4 seconds.
There was no eggshell left stuck to the egg, and the white was smooth
and unbroken. I'd done myself proud. As a mini celebration, I twisted
one arm behind my back until shots of sharp pain stung my joints, all
the while pushing my hand right up to my shoulder so I could literally
pat myself on the back. It felt lovely to be acknowledged as a hero in
my own right. Conversely, it was a pity I wasn't being witnessed to
make the effort official as a world record attempt.
Then, from that point forward, no matter how I
tried, I could not repeat the achievement – so I didn't deserve another
pat on the back. I just couldn't get it right again, and it wasn't for
a lack of trying. Being somewhat of a lunatic, I continued trying long
after most normal people would have given up. I bought, hand-selected
and inspected each egg from then on, but even so, I was unable to beat
myself. I wondered if perhaps I'd coincidentally found the one and only
perfect egg for the job that day I'd looked in my friend's fridge.
At a friendly restaurant, kitchen staff boiled a
dozen eggs for me. I was hopeful that the touch of professional chefs'
hands would make my egg-shelling results favourable. Practising with
them, I did fairly well but I still couldn't beat my own best. Later
on, by myself, I inspected the membrane under many eggshells – both
boiled and raw, in a strange self-inflicted research project. Doing so
made me feel like a renowned scientist on the brink of the latest great
breakthrough for the benefit of all on planet earth. With initiatives
like this, I spent much time trying to figure out the fastest and most
effective shelling technique. How, I was puzzled, could I succeed once
but not again?
before the event, in a large local shop, my eyes landed on the last box
of ideally sized eggs on a shelf as I paced toward it. But I couldn't
get to the prize because trolleys and shoppers blocked my way. In my
mind, I tossed them all over the shelving into the adjoining aisles so
I could stride up to the goods I wanted. But in reality I politely
inched past mothers and slid along the sides of two laden trolleys.
When I'd got myself to within arm's length of the box, a grumpy man
reached for it. I couldn't believe what I was seeing when that hairy
unwelcome arm of his extended its fingers, preparing to wrap around my
precious box of eggs! Although I threw my hand forward, I missed. While
pulling noticeably strained faces to help me get my point across, I
tried to explain without pleading that in the morning I needed to
deliver results on a stunt I'd been practising for. The untidily
dressed machine operator raised his voice, “What does it matter – just
use any egg. You don't need this size egg. These ones are going home
with me for dinner!” I was left standing in the aisle, still pulling
unhappy faces, but with my jaw dropped in bewilderment.
Dragging my feet, I picked the next best size
eggs and headed home to practise. All night, the only thing I could
think of what the difference would end up as in my results the next
morning. I wished I could have located that man and confiscated every
egg he'd buy for the rest of his life. But I had to face the situation.
In silence, I shelled a half-dozen of the eggs I'd just bought, trying
to improve on my technique each time.
My egg-shelling world record attempt was one of
the first for the day at the world record event. Spectators had
gathered around and the day's manager announced my event loudly. Almost
every individual who was present grouped around the temporary stage
where I sat with my helpers and the timekeeper, eager to see something
impressive. That made me a little nervous, although I was accustomed to
this sort of attention. While I wondered about the eggs lying alongside
the large dinner plate in front of me, I heard the timekeeper
mentioning that he was about to begin. I focused my eyes and began to
pay very careful attention to all noises around me. “Go!”
I reached out to the closest egg with as much
speed as my arms could produce, transferring it onto the empty plate. I
had no way of knowing if the eggs I was looking at would shell easily
or not. All I could do was hope and give my best effort. The first egg
ended up as a mess with pieces of jagged shell stuck fast to it. The
attempt was abandoned. My next attempt ended in much the same way, with
a split egg and chunks of egg white clinging to bits of shell lying to
my left and right. At least 5 attempts went wrong – in front of nearly
100 spectators who'd been told I was about to shell an egg faster than
any human alive. It seemed I had brought an entire batch of
under-performers! Shameful, to say the least, even for a madman.
After several attempts, I was not satisfied. In
fact, I preferred to look down at my feet than at any person – least of
all at the professional photographer who'd been commissioned to capture
the day in images. Out of the corners of my eyes, I could see the
tightening circle the crowd was making; they were anxious to see speed
from me. I knew that, and I was trying. They just couldn't see the
results. Gazing up at my helpers, I nodded in agreement to one more
attempt. Pursing my lips, I braced myself and vowed to give it all I
My final attempt was soon under way. I picked off
irregular shaped bits of shell, like a child in a frantic hurry to
unwrap their latest gift. Maybe that's what the crowd thought, but
little did they know I behave that way all the time. Pieces stuck to my
fingertips, which I shot off with quick flicks. I was very careful not
to drop the egg for fear that it might break in half, thereby
disqualifying the attempt. As before, shell landed on my clothing, my
cheeks, all over the plate and spread across much of the stage. When I
gave the finish signal to the timekeeper, everyone must have known the
result was to be better than they'd seen so far. I waited, staring
straight ahead over the eggshell-littered stage floor. When I heard the
speediest result of my egg-shelling session being read out by the
diligent timekeeper, I couldn't help but think back to that day in my
friend's kitchen where everything had worked so well...
Kneeling on the stage's carpet, I wondered if I'd
have produced a better time had I managed to get my hand on the last
box of ideally sized eggs in the shop the previous night. That thought
refused to leave my mind as I stood, as the audience clapped, as I
cleaned up more eggshell than I'd seen in a long time, as my assistants
completed the required admin with me, and as I wandered off to my next
world record attempt.